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Valley/Ventura County Sports

Taft Girls Find Bright Star in Pair of Sprints

Track and field: Reed wins 200 and 400, has Toreadors talking of second straight City Section championship.


VAN NUYS — Where did she come from?

In the last few weeks, that question has been asked frequently about Erin Reed of Taft High.

Reed, a junior, placed sixth in the 100 and 200 meters in the North Coast Section championships for Tamalpais High in Mill Valley last year, but she was relatively unknown in Southern California until winning the 200 in 24.74 in the open section of the Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High on April 10.

Then came a wind-aided 24.46 clocking for second in an invitational heat of the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in Walnut on April 17.

On Saturday, Reed won the 200 in a wind-aided hand time of 24.9 and the 400 in a career-best 58.2 in the San Fernando Valley Invitational at Birmingham High.

Her time in the 400 wasn't particularly fast in comparison to her 200 best, but Reed had never run a 400-meter race until a few weeks ago.

Her first foray into the one-lap event was not a pleasant one as she blazed the first 300 meters of a race against Birmingham before fading badly in the final straightaway and finishing second to the Patriots' Tiffany Burgess.

"I knew Tiffany had a lot more endurance than me so I tried to get a big lead on her in that race," Reed said. "But I remember hitting the 200 and thinking, 'Oh my God. I went out too fast.' My coach had told me to stride the first 200 and I forgot to stride."

Reed, who ranks sixth on the yearly state list in the 200, paced herself better in the 400 Saturday and it helped her lower her previous best by .8 seconds, despite running into a steady head wind down the backstretch.

Reed's recent performances, which also include a 12.25 time in the 100, has Taft envisioning a second consecutive City Section championship.

Birmingham, led by defending 800 and 1,600 champion Burgess, was favored to win the City title at the start of the season, but Taft has become a contender in recent weeks behind the performances of Reed, junior Deneeka Torrey and senior Tiffany Smith.

"We've talked about what we hope to do in the City finals," Reed said. "And we want to put ourselves in the same position as last year."

Reed was the only double winner in the meet Saturday, but there were noteworthy performances in the girls' meet by Bridget Pearson and Anita Siraki of Hoover, Schquay Brignac of Cleveland and Natalie Stein of North Hollywood.

Pearson, the 1997 state champion in the pole vault, cleared 11-7 to win that event before missing three times at 12-1 1/2.

Siraki won the 1,600 in 5:04.5, but expressed disappointment that senior Lauren Fleshman of Canyon didn't run.

Fleshman, who ran 10:21.36, the fastest time in the nation this year, in the 3,200 at the Arcadia Invitational, was entered in the 1,600, but Coach Dave DeLong withdrew her from the event in order to conserve her energy for the Steve Scott Invitational in UC Irvine next Saturday.

"I hoped to run a [career best]," Siraki said. "But it's not easy pacing yourself."

Brignac, defending City champion in the high jump, won that event in 5-4 before missing three times at 5-6.

Stein, 1997 City cross-country champion, won the 3,200 in 11:14.2 to edge Burgess by one-tenth of a second.

Seniors Blaine Bussey of Taft, Jacob Boeding of Saugus, Jon Rymsza of Chaminade and Josh Levy of Campbell Hall, junior Brian Anderson of Burroughs and sophomore Chris Morgan of Taft had the top performances in the boys' meet.

Bussey, defending City champion in the 400, won that event in 48.5.

Boeding won the 3,200 in 9:42.6 after trailing sophomore Tom Kubler of Viewpoint by as much as 40 meters.

Rymsza won the 800 in 1:57.7 and Levy placed first in the high jump in 6-6.

Anderson won the 1,600 in 4:23.3 and Morgan took the 110 high hurdles in a wind-aided 14.1.

Junior Kenan Jackson of Chatsworth ran stride for stride with Morgan and was also credited with a 14.1 clocking.

Kubler didn't win any events, but he finished second in the 1,600 in 4:28.6 and second in the 3,200 in 9:45.1.



Top winning performances from the San Fernando Valley Invitational track and field meet at Birmingham High on Saturday.


400--Blaine Bussey, Taft, 48.5.

800--Jon Rymsza, Chaminade, 1:57.7.

1,600--Brian Anderson, Burroughs, 4:23.3.

3,200--Jacob Boeding, Saugus, 9:42.6.

110 High Hurdles--Chris Morgan, Taft, 14.1w.

High Jump--Josh Levy, Campbell Hall, 6-6.


100--Alexis Weatherspoon, Grant, 12.0w.

200--Erin Reed, Taft, 24.9w.

1,600--Anita Siraki, Hoover, 5:04.5.

3,200--Natalie Stein, North Hollywood, 11:14.2.

High Jump--Schquay Brignac, Cleveland, 5-4.

Pole Vault--Bridget Pearson, Hoover, 11-7.

w-wind aided mark

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